Allison Lipovsky’s pitching leads GVSU softball on hot start to season

GVL / Luke Holmes - Allison Lipovsky (18) throws the pitch. Grand Valley Womens Softball won 9-5 in their first game against Lake Superior State.

GVL / Luke Holmes – Allison Lipovsky (18) throws the pitch. Grand Valley Women’s Softball won 9-5 in their first game against Lake Superior State.

Kellen Voss

If a softball team is only as good as its starting pitchers, then Grand Valley State should be in great shape for this 2018 season.

The Lakers’ solid pitching has led their team to an impressive 15-5 record, including two shutouts in their pair of wins against rival Ferris State on Sunday, March 18.

One of those shutouts came from pitcher Allison Lipovsky, who is having a dominant season so far. In the nine starts, the junior has already posted seven wins, three being shutouts. On the other side, Lipovsky has also knocked three home runs.

Lipovsky is an experienced pitcher as she heads into her third year with the squad. This isn’t her first rodeo, as she started her ball career playing tee-ball at age four before moving on to softball when she was six.

Allison started pitching almost as soon as she stepped onto a ball field after her dad convinced her to give the position a try.

“In the small town where I’m from, we didn’t really have anybody that got into pitching, so my Dad asked me, ‘Why don’t you give it a shot?’” Lipovsky said. “We’d always go out in the yard and rip up my mom’s grass, and it just kind of stuck.”

From there, Lipovsky quickly grew to love pitching at Harrison High School as she developed into a college-caliber pitcher. When it came time for her to pick a school, she picked the one she hadn’t heard of until she participated in a tournament there.

“I didn’t really know about (GVSU); I had never heard of it since everyone where I’m from goes to either Central (Michigan), Ferris or Northwood,” Lipovsky said. “I ended up going down there for a tournament, and I was amazed at how big the campus was. That really sparked my interest. After my official visit here senior year, I said to myself, ‘This is where I wanna go.’”

In addition to softball, Lipovsky also played basketball and volleyball growing up. However, after tearing her ACL in volleyball practice, she took time to rethink her future and focus on softball.

As she has advanced through her college career, Lipovsky has improved drastically and now has a signature move that always keeps opposing batters on their toes.

“I really like to rely on my rise ball just because I have really good command of it,” Lipovsky said. “I can throw it in the zone, and it’s by far my best pitch.”

The biggest difference she has seen in her pitching since high school is how she thinks about the game, as Lipovsky has realized that softball is more of a mental game than she initially thought.

“We work so hard on our mind game, and I think my mental side of playing ball has grown immensely,” Lipovsky said. “I think back to high school when I would just get on the mound and throw the ball, and here I have learned much more about hand positioning and my mindset towards different batters. I’m able to think more critically about how I’m supposed to throw a pitch and how it’s supposed to feel when I land.”

Lipovsky proves to be a very humble team player. She credits her team for her hot start this season. 

“I just do my job on the mound, and if the ball is hit, I have my defense around behind me to get the ball, so I have a lot of trust in them,” Lipovsky said. “And our offense this year is so explosive. … I’ll have confidence they’ll get on base every time, and we’ve gotten really close.

“This team feels more like a family than (any) other team I’ve been on.”

As GVSU currently sits with a 2-0 record in the conference and first place in the GLIAC, Lipovsky is confident her team can make a long postseason run.

“I have never been more excited about a season before,” Lipovsky said. “I know what to expect from my teammates. We’re off to a great start, and I truly believe we can only beat ourselves. We can play like the best team in the country, and when we put it all together, we’re very dominant.”

GVSU looks to continue its hot start this weekend, as they have four in-conference home games. 

They play Northwood on Saturday, March 24, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. before ending the weekend with two games against Saginaw Valley State at noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. All games will take place at the GVSU softball field.